Pungsan Dog Breed

  • Other Names:
  • Korean Phugsan
  • Korean Poongsan
  • Korean Pungsan
  • Phungsan
  • Poongsan
  • View all 5...
Overview

The Pungsan Dog is not recognized by the AKC or FCI but is considered the national dog of North Korea (they are considered National Treasures). It is unlikely to find this breed outside of the country but rarely breeders can be found in the United States. Pungsans were tough enough to brave the rough mountainous regions where they originated to hunt large game, even tigers. They have a more recent history of being bred for meat and via very poor conditions at that.

Although this breed does not bark if unnecessary, one of its defining features is that these vocalizations will sound like a chicken laying an egg. Members of this breed are reserved towards strangers and will bark or show aggression if their territory is invaded. They are not recommended for a family with multiple pets. They are fine with children if trained and socialized at a young age. Pungsans are moderate maintenance due to their high exercise demands and moderate grooming requirements, especially during shedding season. This breed is not recommended for those without time and patience. These dogs are susceptible to a few typical large dog health concerns but no major debilitating ones. Members of this breed can live up to 12-15 years.

Pungsan Dog Breed Details

Breed Specs
TypeLifespanHeightWeight
Purebred10-15 yrs.21-24 in.45-68 lbs
  • Friendliness
  • Overall
  • Family Friendly
  • Kid Friendly
  • Pet Friendly
  • Stranger Friendly
  • Maintenance
  • Easy to Groom
  • Energy Level
  • Exercise Needs
  • General Health
  • Shedding Amount
  • Behavior
  • Barks / Howls
  • Easy to Train
  • Guard Dog
  • Playfulness
  • Watch Dog
  • Ownership
  • Apartment Friendly
  • Can Be Alone
  • Good for Busy Owners
  • Good for Novice Owners
  • Intelligence
* The more green the stronger the trait.

Below are the details and facts for the Pungsan dog breed.

Pungsan Dog Breed Description

This breed is a bit larger than its South Korean neighbor the Jindo Dog. They are considered large size dogs often reaching up to 90 pounds. Unfortunately, there is little information available about this breed so there is no set standard. Individuals have been documents to weigh anywhere from around 40 pounds upwards to 90 pounds. Current statistics state these dogs are around 22 inches at the shoulders.

This breed is loyal and protective towards the owner and family; they will want to bond with the owner and typically will desire to be indoors where they are. These dogs are also independent and will likely ignore strangers unless they feel threatened, at which point they will bark and if necessary become aggressive. This breed is only recommended for single pet households as it is both territorial and has a high prey drive.

Pungsans have moderate to high maintenance requirements. Brushing a couple times per week is recommended except during shedding season when this becomes a daily duty. Frequent vacuuming will likely be required during this time. Two hours of daily exercise will be necessary and can be met with a combination of long daily walks, outdoor playtime in a fenced yard, and indoor toys and games. Training is possible but will require a patient yet dominant owner that can firmly establish themselves as the alpha. Refreshing will consistently need to take place for this breed.

Pungsan Dog Breed History

The Pungsan is considered the national dog of North Korea and are so named for their originating in the northern area of Pungsan. They were bred as hunting dogs to handle large game; stories still circulate that many of these dogs were capable of fending of tigers. In North Korea members of this breed are known to be loyal and cunning. This breed is a spitz-type dog that is said to have descended from the same ancestors as Siberian Laika dogs. It is assumed the ancient people of the Baiku Mountains domesticated these dogs during the Neolithic era and to this day Pungsans retain many wolf-like characteristics. During World War II Japanese soldiers occupying North Korean lands killed Korean dogs to make fur coats to keep them warm in the freezing temperatures. Pungsans were designated a National Treasure in 1942 and were supposedly exempt from this brutality but informations circulates that they too may been butchered. Again this breed faced near extinction during the Korean War. The end of war saw another effort to protect and revive the breed. Korean animal rights associations have been established to enforce breed protection however, many dog meat operations still exist as well as the general breeding conditions of these dogs remain very low. In 2001, North Korean Pungsans and South Korean Jindos were bred to represent a unification of the two countries.

Pungsan Dog Appearance

Overall, Pungsans are thick, rectangular in proportion, and with strong limbs. They appear strong and hardy, well suited for cold weather. This breed has a thick creamy to white double coat that keeps it warm during wintery mountain weather. The undercoat is thick and fine while the outer coat is longer and coarse. The head is wide and triangular with a black nose and dark almond-shaped eyes that are relatively close together. The ears of this breed are pricked or pointed. Pungsan dogs have a fluffy tail that curls over their back.

Pungsan Dog Coloring

Members of this breed have a thick coat that is white or creamy. It is possible that there will be a mixture of these colors.

Pungsan Dog Size

This breed is a bit larger than its South Korean neighbor the Jindo Dog. They are considered large size dogs often reaching up to 90 pounds. Unfortunately, there is little information available about this breed so there is no set standard. Individuals have been documents to weigh anywhere from around 40 pounds upwards to 90 pounds. Current statistics state these dogs are around 22 inches at the shoulders.

Average Adult Height

21-24 in
*Height is measured in inches from the front paws to the top of the shoulder while the dog is standing on all four legs.

Average Adult Weight

45-68 lbs

Pungsan Dog Temperament

This breed is likely to chew as a puppy and may be difficult to house break, but if given toys and proper training, this habit can be curbed. They are unlikely to bark unless necessary, which means they feel their territory has been invaded or their owner needs to be alerted. Pungsan Dogs are intelligent and can be trained but need an owner that commands respect and is capable of firm direction, as these dogs tend to have an alpha personality.

Pungsans are loyal companions or hunting partners to their owners. Strangers will find these dogs reserved and uncaring as one of their primary traits is independence; if they feel their space is threatened these dogs may attack. Other pets are not recommended for owners of this breed as they have a high prey drive and are territorial towards other dogs. They are gentle towards children if socialized and trained at the appropriate age.

Pungsan Dog and Children

Members of this breed can be good with children if socialized and trained at a young age. Their energy level and size may make them a hazard to very small children. This breed is also known to be territorial and sometimes aggressive; although this will not be directed towards kids of the family, there is a possibility of being harmed due to the proximity of such situations.

Pungsan Dog and Other Pets

This dog is best for an owner that plans to make it the only pet in the household. They are hunting dogs and have a high prey drive towards other pets. This breed is also territorial and sometimes aggressive if it feels like its space is being infringed upon.

Pungsan Dog and Strangers

Pungsan Dogs will likely ignore strangers, even after owner introduction, and will not bark unless they feel their space is being threatened. These dogs can be territorial and will not shy away from being aggressive if need be.

Pungsan Dog Maintenance

Pungsans have moderate to high maintenance requirements. Brushing a couple times per week is recommended except during shedding season when this becomes a daily duty. Frequent vacuuming will likely be required during this time. Two hours of daily exercise will be necessary and can be met with a combination of long daily walks, outdoor playtime in a fenced yard, and indoor toys and games. Training is possible but will require a patient yet dominant owner that can firmly establish themselves as the alpha. Refreshing will consistently need to take place for this breed.

Grooming Requirements

These dogs are heavy shedders during the two times per year considered their shedding season. Pungsans should be brushed at least twice per week to prevent mats and tangles and during shedding season should be brushed daily. Over washing this breed could remove the natural oils from the coat that protect this dog from cold temperatures. When bathing, special attention should be paid to cleaning the ears as this breed is susceptible to ear infections.

Exercise Requirements

This breed is strong and tough due to their origins in the mountainous terrain of North Korea. They were large game hunters and will therefore come with plenty of stamina and exercise requirements. It is recommended they have two hours per day activities such as a long walk, playtime in the yard, and games that include toys. This breed may become destructive if these needs are not met. Due to Pungsans retaining their wolf-like prey drive, they should be kept on a leash if when being exercised outside of an enclosed area.

Living Requirements

Pungsans have high energy requirements and are not considered apartment dogs. They are best suited to live indoors with their owner or family but can live outdoors in a large fenced yard. The yard is recommended regardless because this breed will need plenty of outdoor playtime. It can easily adapt to cold and mountainous regions. This breed enjoys digging so fences should be monitored frequently.

Temperature Range

This breed sports a thick double-layered coat that protects it from freezing temperatures. They will likely adapt to most temperatures except, perhaps, to those that are very hot.

Pungsan Dog Health

Pungsans will likely live to be 12-15 years. Health issues for the breed include typical large dog problems such as bloat, hip and elbow dysplasia and obesity. They are susceptible to certain cancers. Special attention should be given to cleaning the ears as ear infections are likely within this breed.

  • Bloat
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Obesity
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